Will You Vote for Kenilworth to Become a Home Rule Community?
Village hopes becoming a home-rule community could help finance a long-term infrastructure plan, which is projected to cost between $17 to $20 million over 10 years.
When Kenilworth residents head to the polls tomorrow, they will be asked to vote on whether the village should shift some decision-making abilities from the state to the local level by becoming a “home rule unit”.
Kenilworth Village President Fred G. Steingraber said in August that the village needs to improve its infrastructure but currently lacks the funds. 78 percent of sewers, 81 percent of water mains and 55 percent of fire hydrants in the village are more than 100 years old, Steingraber said.
Home rule allows communities a broad range of powers, such as taxing, zoning and licensing, unless exempted by the State.
“We’ve concluded the best starting point for [financing a long-term infrastructure plan] is to go into Home Rule for this community,” Steingraber said. “The long-term infrastructure plan is going require $17 to $20 million of capital over 10 years.”
In the past, Kenilworth has fixed infrastructure problems when they break down but “what happens when we start to face a multitude of these things in any given year without the funds budgeted for that and certainly without the staff, and frankly not enough time to be able to address these things in a efficient and effective way,” Steingraber said.
Under the 1970 Illinois Constitution, home rule powers are automatically granted to municipalities with populations over 25,000, smaller communities can put the question on the ballot and let voters decide.
Tomorrow, voters will see this question:
Shall the Village of Kenilworth become a home rule unit pursuant to Article VII, Section 6 of the Illinois Constitution?
What Can A Home-Rule Community Do?
The following information is from an article first published on Winnetka-Glencoe Patch in 2010, to help educate Northfield voters on home rule.
Home-ruled communities can:
- Raise property taxes.
- Levy an additional retail sales tax to the state' s tax base, in amounts of 0.25 percent, up to a total additional levy of 2.5 percent. Non-home rule communities are restricted to a 1 percent local share. (According to Dr. James M. Banovetz, there is no evidence that differences in sales tax rates across Illinois have produced a " detectable impact" on consumers' shopping patterns.)
- Levy a real-estate-transfer tax, but only by referendum.
Home-ruled communities cannot:
- Define and provide for the punishment of a felony.
- Levy taxes on income, earnings or occupations without legislative authority.
- Incur debts on property-tax receipts that have matured more than 40 years.
- Also, if a home rule county ordinance conflicts with a municipal ordinance (Cook County is currently the only home-ruled county in Illinois), the municipal ordinance will prevail.
Will you authorize Kenilworth to become a home-rule community? Sound off on our Facebook page, or vote in our poll below.